Rachel Therrien, Vena
by Sylvannia Garutch
Rachel Therrien is a key trumpet player on the Montreal Jazz scene, helping it to grow and expand its frontiers by being an example for emerging musicians and actively working for the jazz community. In 2013, she founded the Montreal Jazz Composers Series, bringing together more than 200 musician-composers from Canada and the US to showcase their original music. .She believes that “Jazz is a philosophy of conversation between musicians from different backgrounds through improvisation, and that we, as musicians, it is our mission to keep jazz alive and to make sure that our generation of non-musicians live the experience and appreciate that unspoken language.” Therrien has appeared as a sideman with: DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Claudio Roditi, Paquito D’Rivera, Lee Konitz, Ken Peplowski, the Latin Grammy winner Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Yacouba Sissoko, Geraldo Piloto, Michel Legrand, Pedrito Martinez, Julie Lamontagne, Benito Gonzales, David Buchbinder, Vic Vogel, Bryan Lynch, Carole Welsman, Nomadic Massive, Wesli Band, Tabou Combo, Skah Shah, Klimax, Orquesta Anacaona. She also worked for the Canadian TV Show “Belle et Bum,” which lead her to share the stage with great artists such as Marie-Josée Lord, Alex Nevsky, Mara Tremblay, Daniel Boucher, Stéphanie Bédard, Lisa Leblanc, Joseph Edgar, and New York-based famous folk singer Joseph Arthur. Therrien is releasing her fifth album titled Vena. Recorded in Paris with her new European Quartet on the French Label Bonsaï Music. The Quartet of first-rate European musicians includes Franco-Australian pianist Daniel Gassin, Spanish bassist Dario Guibert, and German drummer Mareike Wiening. Also, joining the group for two tracks is Cuban saxophonist Irving Acao.
“Parity,” inspired by Therrien’s longing for gender equality, is a beautiful straight-eight selection that is Therrien showing her powerful and expressiveness as a composer and performer. The trumpet tone and building melodies in her solo are stunning. The Quartet follows her every lead, growing in volume and intensity with her to create an arching solo. Gassin’s solo is equally as expressive. Therrien’s original is the perfect setting for the Quartet to express their European jazz undercurrent of classical influence. The song features outstanding work from drummer Wiening and bassist Guibert. The ending opens up for more reflective soloing by Therrien. “Parity” is musical poetry, building across four and a half minutes, to a full-blown musical expression of passion and beauty.
“Pigalle” opens with Guibert’s bass line. Soon the ensemble joins for a Latin influenced original composition by Therrien. Wiening takes us on a ferocious piano ride, often abstract, and filled with interaction from the bass and drums. The mood changes when Therrien enters, where the leader moves to start building the intensity. Guibert’s shows he is comfortable creating the support for the larger ensemble as well as soloing. The linear nature of the melody is inventive and says something personal to Therrien. With her vision and top-notch band, “Pigalle” has energy, emotion, and musicality
Vena continues to expand technically assured jazz catalog of Therrien. She knows how to fill the solo space, and her compositions sound of her mastery of the meaning of nuance. The ensemble has racked up sufficient bandstand time together, and it shows in their sound as a unit.